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May is Healthy Vision Month

May is Healthy Vision Month

Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Author Montgomery Eye

Diet and lifestyle choices can directly affect your eyes. The best way to take care of your eyes during May’s Healthy Vision Month and year-round is to look after your overall health and schedule your eye exams as a priority. Exercising, eating healthy, and drop the habit of smoking are three of the best investments you can make in your vision.

Making healthy choices and getting regular eye exams can help reduce the risk of getting some eye diseases. Also, healthy options can minimize vision loss or slow down the disease if you have age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, or glaucoma.

Celebrating Healthy Vision Month, Montgomery Eye encourages you to find ways to be healthier, so your vision will last a lifetime. One aspect of a healthy lifestyle is eating the right foods.  A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can pay benefits not only to your overall health but for your eyes as well.

Here are four fantastic foods recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology to include in your diet and keep your eyes healthy.

Kale. Leafy green vegetables, like kale, are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients found in the healthy eye that are believed to lower your risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. One large study showed that women who had diets high in lutein were 23 percent less likely to develop cataracts than women whose diets were low in this nutrient. Not a big fan of kale? Not to worry. Other dark leafy green vegetables, like spinach, romaine lettuce, collards, and turnip greens, also contain significant amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. Eggs are also a good source of these nutrients, as are broccoli, peas, and corn.

Salmon. Some studies suggest that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids from cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and halibut reduce the risk of developing eye disease later in life. A 2010 study from Johns Hopkins found that people who had a diet high in omega-3 fatty acid were much less likely to develop AMD.

Oranges. Oranges and all of their citrus families, such as grapefruit, tangerines, and lemons, are high in vitamin C, an antioxidant that is critical to eye health. Scientists have found that your eyes need relatively high levels of vitamin C to function properly, and antioxidants can prevent or at least delay cataracts and AMD. Many other foods offer benefits similar to oranges, including peaches, red peppers, tomatoes, and strawberries.

Black-eyed peas. Legumes of all kinds, including black-eyed peas, kidney beans, lima beans, and peanuts, contain zinc, an essential trace mineral that is found in high concentration in the eyes. Zinc may help protect your eyes from the damaging effects of light. Other foods high in zinc include oysters, lean red meat, poultry, and fortified cereals.

Most people think of the one vegetable as a great food choice to keep your eyes healthy are carrots.  Carrots are high in beta-carotene, a nutrient that helps with night vision. There are other orange-colored fruits and vegetables to add to your plate, like sweet potatoes, apricots, and cantaloupe.

Keep your diet colorful, which will help keep your eyes healthy.

Is it time to schedule a comprehensive eye exam? Call TODAY to schedule your appointment!

334-271-3804

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Monday, April 26, 2021
Author Montgomery Eye

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that affects people with diabetes. Diabetic Retinopathy is when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the  retina. These blood vessels can swell and leak. Or they can close, stopping blood from passing through. Sometimes abnormal new blood vessels grow on the retina. Unfortunately, all these changes can steal your vision.

Diagram of Diabetic eye vs healthy eye

The Two Main Stages of Diabetic Eye Disease

NPDR (non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy)

This is the early stage of diabetic eye disease. Patients who have had diabetes for five years stand a 25% chance of developing non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR).

With NPDR, tiny blood vessels leak, making the retina swell. When the  macula  swells, it is called macular edema. This is the most common reason why people with diabetes lose their vision.

PDR (proliferative diabetic retinopathy)

PDR is the more advanced stage of diabetic eye disease. It happens when the retina starts growing new blood vessels. This is called neovascularization. These fragile new vessels often bleed into the vitreous. If they only bleed a little, you might see a few dark  floaters. If they bleed a lot, it might block all vision.

These new blood vessels can form scar tissue. Scar tissue can cause problems with the macula or lead to a  detached retina.

PDR is very serious and can steal both your central and peripheral (side) vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

You can have diabetic retinopathy and not know it. This is because it often has no symptoms in its early stages. As diabetic retinopathy gets worse, you will notice symptoms such as:

  • seeing an increasing number of floaters
  • blurry vision
  • vision that sometimes changes from blurry to clear,
  • seeing blank or dark area in your field of vision
  • poor night vision
  • noticing colors appear faded or washed out
  • losing vision.

Diabetic retinopathy symptoms usually affect both eyes.

Risk Factors

Risk factors relating to diabetic retinopathy are identical to factors that aggravate diabetes, which include:

  • Obesity: Excess fat within the blood and body tissue makes it harder for insulin to regulate blood sugar levels effectively.
  • Inactivity: Inactivity results in slow body metabolism, subsequently favoring high blood sugar levels
  • Family History: Genetic factors affecting the pancreas cause inadequate production of insulin resulting in abnormally high blood sugar levels
  • Age: The pancreas ability to produce adequate insulin decreases as a person get older
  • High Blood Pressure: The super-thin blood vessels within the retina rapture easily as a result of the abnormally high blood pressure

Check out this video to learn more about diabetic retinopathy

https://youtu.be/FyJByXyEQbg

If you are 1 in 10 who have diabetes, you can effectively delay the condition’s onset by making healthy lifestyle choices. However, it is prudent to have a yearly eye checkup to allow your eye doctor to determine diabetic retinopathy onset when you have diabetes.

Your healthy eyesight is our HIGHEST priority, and we love being your partner in vision health!

334-271-3804

References:
American Academy of Ophthalmology
American Optometric Association
Centers of Disease Control (CDC)

April is Sports Eye Safety Month

April is Sports Eye Safety Month

Tuesday, April 06, 2021
Author Montgomery Eye

Tags sports eye safety month

Spring has Sprung, which begins the perfect time for sports and outdoor game time. April is National Sports Eye Safety Month is a reminder initiated by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) to raise awareness about preventing sports-related eye injuries. Prevention is the key, and sport-specific eye protection can save your vision. Eye protection during any activity with the potential for injury can save your vision. Eye protection is more than eyeglasses but specifically safety or sports glasses.

Are Your Eyes At Risk?

Eye injuries can occur during any activity. One of the highest causes of eye injury is sports, especially in children. According to the AAO, more than 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are treated each year, and 90 percent of serious eye injuries can be prevented by wearing protective eyewear.

No matter the sport, there are risks to your eyes. Any participant in any sport can benefit from wearing protective eyewear that guards against fast-moving objects, debris, dust, dirt, and sand.

If you wear prescription eyeglasses that are not made for sports or contact lenses, you should talk to your eye doctor about what they recommend for your specific sport and eye care needs.

Eye safety is just as crucial for those who prefer to watch from the stands; you could be subject to injury from a flying bat, ball, or other objects. Be careful and pay attention to protect your eyes while cheering for your favorite team.

Common Sports Eye Injuries

Corneal abrasion:  One of the most common injuries due to sports is a corneal abrasion.  An abrasion is a scratch on the surface of the eye.   In most healthy patients, an abrasion will heal within 2-3 days.  However, it is important to see an eye doctor to treat the abrasion and prevent infection and check your eyes for other injuries.

Traumatic Iritis: Traumatic iritis is inflammation of the iris.  “Iri-“ (referring to the iris or blue/brown part of your eye) + “-itis” (inflammation).  With iritis due to any cause, you can have eye pain, blurred vision, and usually very sensitive to bright lights.

Hyphema: Another common injury to the eye is a hyphema or bleeding inside of the front part of your eye.  The bleeding will resolve on its own, usually within 1-2 weeks, but it can cause other severe eye problems, including glaucoma, so it is essential to see your eye doctor and follow instructions carefully if you have this type of injury.

It is important to see an eye doctor when any eye injury occurs, even if it is minor. Delaying medical care can lead to vision loss or blindness.

We Can Help You Find Great Eye Protection Gear!

If you are not sure which type of eye protection is best for your favorite sport, we’re happy to offer recommendations. Give us a call to discuss your eyewear needs and keep you playing at the top of your form! There’s more to lose than just the game.

Stay safe and have fun!

334-271-3804

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

Wednesday, February 03, 2021
Author Montgomery Eye

Tags macular degeneration

What is Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?

AMD is a disorder of the macula. The macula is the part of your retina where your central and color vision calls home. AMD is a complex disorder where degenerative protein/lipids (called "drusen") deposit under the retina. These deposits are seen in early macular degeneration. As the disease progresses, the retina's structural support system breaks down and can allow abnormal blood vessels to grow or leak fluid and further disrupt the retinal cells. If these blood vessels grow in the macula, then you will lose your central.

AMD is the leading cause of central vision loss in Americans over 50 years old. There are two types of age-related macular degeneration (AMD):

Dry or Nonexudative – This form is quite common. About 80% (8 out of 10) of people who have AMD have the dry form.

Click the American Academy of Ophthalmology link and learn the dry form of age-related macular degeneration.

https://youtu.be/VhGo1jGHFps

Wet or Exudative – This form is less common but much more serious. Wet AMD is when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina.

What are the risk factors?

  • Age: AMD affects more than 2 million Americans over 50 years old. The prevalence of ARMD in the USA is around 6% when 65 and almost 20% when 75 years old.
  • Genetics: have a family history of AMD
  • Smoking: Increases your risk for progression
  • Diet: eating foods high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
  • Have Certain Diseases: hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, cardiovascular disease
  • Are Overweight

What is the treatment?

Depending on your type and severity of macular degeneration, many new and exciting treatment options can not only prevent further vision loss, but they can help you regain vision, sometimes even back to 20/20. Discuss your options with your eye doctor.

Look Out for Your Eyesight

Keep up with your eye exams, maintain healthy habits and good safety practices. Your eyes will love you for it!

Show some LOVE to your EYES and Call TODAY to Schedule your Appointment!

334-271-3804

Simple Lifestyle Adjustments to Help Those With Low Vision

Simple Lifestyle Adjustments to Help Those With Low Vision

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Author Montgomery Eye

What Does “Low Vision” Means?

As we age, our eyes change too. Many of these vision changes can be corrected by glasses or contact lenses. However, if your eye doctor tells you that your vision cannot be fully corrected with ordinary prescription lenses, medical treatment, or surgery, and you still have some usable vision. In this case, you have what is called “low vision.” Patients diagnosed with low vision may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks with low vision, such as reading, shopping, preparing meals, and signing your name on the dotted line.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, low vision can be a significant challenge for persons of any age trying to maintain their independence. Low vision can make everyday activities difficult, increasing reliance on loved ones and caregivers while increasing the risk of falls.

Here are a few simple adjustments that can be done to lessen the dependency for those with less severe forms of low vision:

Increase Contrast and Color

Bright living room with different contrasting colors.

Set brightly colored accessories around the home to help with locating the items around them. Use contrasting colors to define doorknobs, steps, doorframes clearly, switch plates, outlets, or stairway landings to help decrease the risk of missteps and falls.

Let the Light Shine Bright

 Bright living room with light shining brightly.

Brighter lighting can help with reading and activities such as sewing or cooking. Provide plenty of floor lamps and table lamps to enhance overhead lighting. Remove mirrors that reflect lights to create a glare. Use window coverings that can allow natural light through.

Embrace Technology

Senior citizen using Bluetooth earphones with tablet computer.

There are a variety of technology-based tools for smartphones and tablets designed to aid people with low vision. One example is Spotlight Text, which can be configured to help people with particular patterns of low vision to read with greater comfort.

Remove Hazards

Hardwood floor with a carpet rug on top.

Use non-glare products to clean floors instead of wax. Tape down area rugs and remove electrical cords from pathways to decrease the risk of falling and injury.

Don’t Delay Eye Exams

Eye doctor examining patient’s eyes.

Several diseases that cause low vision, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma, are progressive and can get worse without proper monitoring and treatment. During a comprehensive eye exam, an eye doctor can identify both the type and severity of vision loss and, in some cases, refer patients to low vision rehabilitation.

Having low vision can be challenging, but it does not have to mean giving up your independence. Just a few adjustments around the house can make a big difference in maintaining comfort and strengthening your ability to accomplish your normal daily activities with partial sight.

Our First Goal Is Our Patients’ Lifelong Vision Health

Call today to schedule your appointment!

334-271-3804

Montgomery Eye Physicians

American Academy of Ophthalmology

Give Yourself A Gift That Will last A LIfetime

Give Yourself A Gift That Will last A LIfetime

Wednesday, December 09, 2020
Author Montgomery Eye

It is that magical time of the year, a season of giving and being merry! What a year we have had so far, where you might have placed your needs at the bottom of your to-do list. At Montgomery Eye, we want to remind you to give yourself a gift that you will cherish for a lifetime – the gift of healthy vision.

As we age, we should be vigilant in watching for signs of age-related vision loss because early diagnosis is critical in preventing many sight-threatening conditions from progressing. We want our patients empowered with information that they can minimize their risks. Have you scheduled your comprehensive eye exam?

Eye Exam 101

A comprehensive eye exam is a painless procedure that can detect potentially sight-robbing conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy, even before a patient experiences any symptoms. A comprehensive eye exam should cover the following: 

  • Medical history ‒ assessed through questions about vision and family history.
  • Visual acuity ‒tested by reading a standardized eye chart.
  • Pupils ‒ evaluated to determine how well they respond to light.
  • Eye movement ‒ tested to ensure proper eye alignment and ocular muscle function.
  • Prescription for corrective lenses ‒ evaluated to ensure proper vision correction.
  • Side vision ‒ tested for possible vision loss and glaucoma risk.
  • Eye pressure ‒ tested as a possible glaucoma symptom.
  • Front part of the eye ‒ examined to reveal any cataracts, scars, or scratches on your cornea.
  • Retina and optic nerve ‒ assessed through a dilated eye exam using special eyedrops, which allows your eye doctor to thoroughly examine the back of the eye for signs of damage.

Helping Your Vision Stay Healthy

Between those regular eye exams, there is a lot we can do in our daily lives to safeguard our eyesight. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses outside (no matter what season it is), stay active, eat healthy foods, and avoid harmful habits like smoking. Following these tips will greatly reduce many risk factors for eye diseases, let alone improving your overall health!

Give yourself the gift that does not come wrapped in a beautiful box but a gift that will be cherished for a lifetime – healthy vision. Do not delay or deny yourself a comprehensive eye exam.

Keep the holidays happier and healthier.

Dr. Mitchell Retirement

Monday, November 23, 2020

Dear Patients,

I have enjoyed caring for you and your families over the years. With mixed feelings of happiness and sadness, I am writing to let you know of my intention to retire from the practice of Medicine. My last day with Montgomery Eye Physicians will be on December 31, 2020.

Over the years, I have had the privilege to be involved in caring for the eye health needs of several generations of families in the area. Together we have shared both heartaches and joys. I truly appreciate your loyalty and the confidence that you have placed in me throughout the years. It has been an honor that you have entrusted me with the care of your precious gift of vision! I will take the memories of our shared experiences with me into my retirement years.

As you all know, this practice is comprised of a group of very knowledgeable and caring eye doctors supported by an excellent staff. Our Ophthalmologists include Dr. John Swan, Dr. In Shin, and Dr. Katherine Donnithorne. In addition to our board certified Ophthalmologists, we are supported by our highly trained and board certified Optometrists; Dr. Michael Bradford, Dr. Tim Meadows, Dr. Tyler McFaden, and our newest addition, Dr. Amanda Duty.

Montgomery Eye remains commited to providing you with the best eye care in Central Alabama. As such, your medical records will remain on site at the practice and accessible by all of our skilled providers. To schedule an appointment, just call 334-271-3804.

It has been a great pleasure meeting and caring for you all. I sincerely appreciate your friendship and loyalty. I wish you continued good health, happiness, and all the best in the coming years.

Sincerely,

Dr. Tom Lyle Mitchell, Jr.
Montgomery Eye Physicians
Phone: (334) 271-3804
Fax: (334) 270-3375

Diabetic Retinopathy: What You Need To Know

Diabetic Retinopathy: What You Need To Know

Thursday, October 29, 2020
Author Montgomery Eye

Tags diabetic retinopathy, prevention

Diabetes is a disease that affects the body's ability to produce or use insulin effectively to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. Too much glucose in the blood for a long time can cause damage in many parts of the body. Diabetes can damage the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels. It damages small blood vessels in the eye as well.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that about 90% of vision loss from diabetes can be prevented. Early detection is key. It is critical that people with diabetes should get annual eye exams even before they have signs of vision loss. Studies show that 60% of diabetics are not getting the exams their doctors recommend.

What Is Diabetic Eye Disease?

Diabetic eye disease is a term for several eye problems that can all result from diabetes. Diabetic eye disease includes:

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Diabetic macular edema
  • Cataract
  • Glaucoma

Let's take a closer look at Diabetic Retinopathy:

Diabetic Retinopathy and DME are when the blood vessels in the back of the eye leak blood into the fluid that fills the eye, appearing as dark blotches in the field of vision. Our eyes attempt to compensate for the damaged blood vessels by growing new ones.

High blood sugar puts a serious strain on blood vessels, which is why diabetes is such a serious risk factor for retinopathy. If it advances far enough, diabetic retinopathy can become DME, which involves blurred central vision and can lead to retinal detachment and blindness. People who have diabetes or poor blood sugar control are at risk for diabetic retinopathy. The risk also increases, the longer someone has diabetes.

View a video about diabetic retinopathy.

Stages of Diabetic Eye Disease

There are two main stages of diabetic eye disease.

NPDR (non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy)

NPDR is the early stage of diabetic eye disease, which many people with diabetes have.

With NPDR, tiny blood vessels leak, making the retina swell. When the  macula swells, it is called  macular edema. This is the most common reason why people with diabetes lose their vision.

Also, with NPDR, blood vessels in the retina can close off. This is called  macular ischemia. When that happens, blood cannot reach the macula. Sometimes tiny particles called exudates can form in the retina. These can affect your vision too.

PDR (proliferative diabetic retinopathy)

PDR is the more advanced stage of diabetic eye disease. It happens when the retina starts growing new blood vessels. This is called neovascularization. These fragile new vessels often bleed into the vitreous. If they only bleed a little, you might see a few dark floaters. If they bleed a lot, it might block all vision.

These new blood vessels can form scar tissue. Scar tissue can cause problems with the macula or lead to a  detached retina.

PDR is very serious, and can steal both your central and peripheral (side) vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

You can have diabetic retinopathy and not know it. This is because it often has no symptoms in its early stages. As diabetic retinopathy gets worse, you will notice symptoms such as:

  • seeing an increasing number of floaters
  • having blurry vision
  • having vision that sometimes changes from blurry to clear
  • seeing blank or dark areas in your field of vision
  • having poor night vision
  • noticing colors appear faded or washed out
  • losing vision

Take Steps to Protect Your Vision

To prevent eye damage from diabetes, maintain good control of your blood sugar. Follow your primary care physician's diet and exercise plan. If you have not had an eye exam with an eye doctor, it is crucial to get one now. Be sure to never skip the follow-up exams that your eye doctor recommends. Call TODAY to schedule an appointment.

334-271-3804

Six Says to Protect Your Eyes from Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Six Says to Protect Your Eyes from Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Author Montgomery Eye

Tags macular degeneration, prevention

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in Americans over 50, affecting about 2.1 million people nationwide. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to preventing vision loss. Montgomery Eye are educating our patients about the facts on AMD.

AMD is a degenerative disease that happens when part of the retina called the  macula is damaged. It's the part of the eye that delivers sharp, central vision needed to see objects straight ahead. Over time, the loss of central vision can interfere with everyday activities, such as driving, reading, and seeing faces clearly.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers these six steps to help patients take control of their eye health:

  1. Get regular comprehensive medical eye exams. AMD often has no early warning signs, so getting regular comprehensive eye exams from an eye doctor is critical to diagnosing and treating eye disease in its early stages. We recommend that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40 — the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. By age 65, we recommend getting an exam every year.
  2. Quit smoking. Numerous studies show smoking increases the risk of developing AMD and the speed at which it progresses. Smokers are twice as likely to develop macular degeneration compared with a nonsmoker.
  3. Eat a well-balanced diet. Many studies demonstrate that eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and nutrient-packed foods, such as salmon and nuts, may reduce AMD's risk. Research also suggests that patients who ate fresh fish, an essential source of omega-3s, were at lower risk of developing AMD.
  4. Exercise regularly. Exercising three times a week can reduce the risk of developing wet AMD by 70 percent. Studies also show that physical activity may lower the odds of AMD's early and late stages.
  5. Monitor your sight with an Amsler Grid. This simple, daily routine  takes less than one minute and can help people with AMD save more of their vision. Using this grid is essential to finding any vision changes that are not obvious so that you can report them to your eye doctor.
  6. Know your family's eye health history. If you have a close relative with AMD, you have a 50 percent greater chance of developing the condition. Before your next eye exam, please speak with your family about their eye health history. You may need more frequent eye exams based on your family history.

If you can't remember when your last eye exam, we can help you start your new eye exam appointment calendar today! Your eyes will be happier for it.

334-271-3804

Sources: American Academy of Ophthalmology

Foods Rich In Vitamin C Help Curb Cataracts

Foods Rich In Vitamin C Help Curb Cataracts

Thursday, August 27, 2020
Author Montgomery Eye

Tags cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye's lens that happens naturally with age. The condition is the leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

Researchers from King's College London examined data from more than 1,000 pairs of female twins to see what factors may help keep cataracts at bay. They tracked the intake of vitamin C and other nutrients from food and supplements. They also recorded how opaque the subjects' lenses were at around age 60, with a follow-up on 324 sets of twins about ten years later.

Women who reported consuming more vitamin C-rich foods had a 33 percent risk reduction of cataract progression over the decade, according to the study. Their lenses were also more transparent overall.

"While we cannot totally avoid developing cataracts, we may be able to delay their onset and keep them from worsening significantly by eating a diet rich in vitamin C," said study author Christopher Hammond, M.D., professor of ophthalmology at King's College London. The researchers noted that the findings only pertain to vitamins consumed through food and not supplements.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. The fluid inside the eyeball usually is high in a compound similar to vitamin C, which helps prevent oxidation that results in a clouded lens. Scientists believe more vitamin C in the diet may increase the amount present around the lens, providing extra protection.

Because the study was done in twins, the team was also able to calculate how much of a role genetics versus environmental factors play in cataract progression. While environmental factors, such as diet, accounted for 65 percent, genetic factors only accounted for 35, indicating that diet and lifestyle may outweigh genetics.

The human body cannot produce or store vitamin C. Therefore, it's essential to consume Vitamin C rich food regularly in sufficient amounts. The current daily value (DV) for vitamin C is 90 mg. A diet rich in vitamin C is an essential step toward good overall health and cataract prevention.

To learn more about your eye health call 334-271-3804 today to schedule an appointment.

The study, "Genetic and Dietary Factors Influencing the Progression of Nuclear Cataract," was published in Ophthalmology, the official journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.


 

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